Vale of Clyde 2-5 Cambuslang Rangers
Abercorn 1st Division
Saturday 27th December
At Fullerton Park
Cambuslang finished 2003 on top of the pile as they moved 2 points clear of the pack on Saturday after a convincing 5-2 victory over neighbours Vale of Clyde. The match turned out to be a bit of a struggle for the Lang but eventually saw off Vale. This turned into something of a battle with little wars going on all over the place.
Both teams had met only a couple of weeks earlier where the Lang were easy 8-0 winners but Manager Andy Cunningham had warned his side beforehand to expect a totally different game.
The visitors were without both Martin Fennie and Craig Ferguson allowing a rare start for Ian Stoddart and Jamie McCarroll.
The visitors started the better of the two sides and took a deserved lead after only 4 minutes. A mistake by Martin, who was out jumped by Taylor allowed Thompson in to slot past Rowan. Cambuslang got back on level terms after 11 minutes when skipper Billy Holmes was in the right place to convert Brown's cross past Stirling in the Vale goal. The home side picked up the first booking of the afternoon when Garscadden was late in the tackle. The home side almost regained the lead after 15 minutes but keeper Rowan and defender Burns combined to somehow get the ball over the bar after Taylor was allowed a free header. The visitors got their noses in front when Holmes grabbed his second of the afternoon. A superb early pass from midfield sent Holmes through on the keeper whom he rounded before slotting into the net. The Lang skipper almost grabbed his third but somehow the ball rattled off the upright right and rebounded to safety. The home side grabbed an equaliser against the run of play when Thompson grabbed his second of the game. With the Lang defence all waiting on the whistle for a foul but it never came giving Thompson all the time to pick his spot to knock past Rowan. Lang's Martin and Vale's Taylor were both spoken too for off the ball incidents. Martin was yellow carded. Cambuslang should have regained the lead on 40 minutes but Galloway fired inches wide from a good position. The visitors then had their penalty appeals rejected after the ball seemed to strike the Vale defender on the arm but the referee was in no festive mood and waived play on, much to the annoyance of the travelling support. Cambuslang went in at the break with their noses in front when Stoddart slid home a McCarroll cross. Some nifty footwork from the Lang player created space and Stoddart came sliding in at the back to toe poke home.
Cambuslang started the second half well and almost stretched their lead when Holmes forced the Vale keeper into a fine stop from 12 yards. It was only a few minutes later when the Lang did extend their lead. Burns was up ended in the box leaving the referee no option this time but to award the spot kick. Top scorer Brown sent the keeper the wrong was for the Langs 4th of the afternoon. The game was all but over after 53 minutes when the Lang grabbed a 5th. Galloway and Brown combined on the left working a 1-2 allowing Galloway time to get his shot away and he fired past the keeper into the roof of the net. It was at this point the home side seemed to loose the head a little as the meaty challenges began to fly in as well as the off the ball clashes involving Vale's Taylor almost every the ref's back was turned. " minutes later and all hell broke loose in the middle of the park. Vale defender Wilson launched himself at Stoddart catching the midfielder who reacted angrily to the challenge, as almost everyone got involved in a shoving match the referee came to the strange decision of Red carding both players, Stoddart to innocent party in this case. Cambuslang striker Brown found himself bearing down on the Vale goal only to be fouled outside the area after nicking the ball past the keeper presenting an excellent goal scoring chance. The keeper's tackle which caught the Lang player just below the knee could only have resulted in one decision, a red card. But to the astonishment of everyone in the park the referee produced a yellow card, even the keeper though he was walking. This has to be one of the worst decisions witnessed at a junior game for many a year. From the resulting free kick, McCarroll forced the keeper into a fine stop. Worrying for the Lang was when Brown failed to recover from the challenge and had to be replaced by Love. Cambuslang replaced to goal Billy Holmes with Alan McCrae on 70 minutes. Lang's McCarroll had two excellent shots but both narrowly missed the target. Cambuslang looked to have scored their 6th of the afternoon when Burn's fired in a free kick that deflected off the defensive wall and onto the post. The ball fell kindly for McCrae who from 2 yards out tapped into the net. As the Lang began to celebrate the man in the middle had other ideas and chopped the goal off for offside, another poor decision from the referee. Cambuslang were reduced to 9 men when ex-Motherwell centre half Brain Martin was red carded for an off the ball incident involving Taylor yet again. This decision resulted in a penalty for the home side. McNeil stepped up to take the kick which was superbly saved by Rowan in the Lang goal. It just seemed that Justice had been done. The sides were evened up yet again when Vale's Garscadden got his marching orders for another scything tackle from the back this time on Coulter. The visitors played possession football and ran the clock down to pick up another three vital league points.
Rowan, Doak, McGregor, Martin, Coulter, Stoddart, McCarroll, Galloway, Holmes (McCrae 70), Brown (Love 60) & Burns
Murphy, Carmichael & Archer